WKU headed to California for NCAA women's tournament - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

WKU headed to California for NCAA women's tournament

WKU HEADS TO CAL TO TAKE ON TEXAS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Lady Topper Basketball will face No. 5 seed Texas in the first round of the 2015 NCAA Division One Women's Basketball Championships on Friday, March 20, 2015. Tipoff is set for 4:00 p.m. CT at the Haas Pavilion at Cal in Berkeley, California.

The Lady Toppers will make their 18th NCAA Tournament appearance this week after earning Conference USA's automatic berth into the tournament. WKU has reached the Final Four three times, including a berth in the National Championship game in 1992. WKU also owns six Sweet Sixteen appearances.

The Lady Toppers (30-4, 16-2) were seeded No. 12 in the Albany Regional in this week's tournament after claiming the Conference USA Regular Season Championship and tournament title.  WKU beat Southern Miss 60-57 in the Conference USA title game.

WKU and Texas have met twice in the NCAA Tournament, meeting in the 1985 and 1986 NCAA Tournaments. WKU beat Texas 92-90 on a buzzer beater from Lillie Mason to send the Lady Toppers to the Final Four in Austin, Texas. Texas beat WKU 90-65 in the 1986 tournament in the national semifinals in Lexington, Ky.

The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 with Melissa Lee (play-by-play) and Mary Murphy (analyst) on the call.

All 63 games of the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship will air on ESPN networks for the 10th consecutive year. ESPN and ESPN2 will present regionalized telecasts with home market protection through the first two rounds. ESPN3 and ESPN FULL COURT, the pay-per-view package, will offer first- and second-round games in their entirety as a supplement to ESPN and ESPN2's coverage. The final 15 games, beginning with the Regional Semifinals, will have national telecast windows on ESPN or ESPN2.

Fans are encouraged to catch the games in Bowling Green at Lost River Pizza Company this week, the Official Watch Party Headquarters of the Lady Toppers' NCAA Tournament Games.

WKU is the first team in Conference USA history to claim 30 wins in a season while a league member. WKU finished with a 32-4 record in 1985-86 on their way to the Final Four, the only other time that WKU has reached the 30-win mark in program history.

The Lady Toppers continued to grind out postseason wins last week, having won six games by a combined 19 points over the last two seasons in conference tournaments. The eight points that set WKU apart from its opponents in the conference tournament this year set a new Conference USA record for smallest point margin for a winning tournament team in league history. The previous record was 18 points.

The Lady Toppers have claimed back-to-back conference tournament championships after winning last year's Sun Belt Conference Championships in New Orleans, La. The Lady Toppers beat Arkansas State 61-60 in last year's Sun Belt Conference finals to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The conference title in 2015 is WKU's first as a member of Conference USA as the program is in its first year competing in the league after a successful run in the Sun Belt Conference and WKU's 11th conference tournament title in program history.

Led by Michelle Clark-Heard, the third-year head coach has re-energized one of women's college basketball's most tradition rich programs, leading her alma mater as head coach. Coming off a 9-21 season before her arrival in 2011-12, Clark-Heard quickly turned the program into a 22-win team in her first year at WKU, securing the Sun Belt Conference's largest turnaround in league history. She followed that up with a 24-9 season in 2013-14 that saw WKU win its final 10 games entering the NCAA Tournament before falling to Baylor in postseason action. This season, Clark-Heard helped WKU reach the finals of the Preseason Women's NIT and secure 30 wins for just the second time in program history. She also became just the 10th coach in history to help a team reach the Associated Press Top 25 as both a player and coach at the same school when WKU spent two weeks in the top 25 earlier this season.

NCAA TOURNAMENT TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets for the 2015 NCAA Tournament will be available through the WKU Ticket Office beginning Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. CT. This is the only outlet that fans can purchase tickets to in the WKU cheering sections.

Fans may purchase tickets when the ticket office opens on Tuesday morning by calling 1-800-5-BIG-RED or in person at the E.A. Diddle Arena Box Office. First priority on ticket allocation will be based on Hilltopper Athletic Foundation priority rank. The WKU Ticket Office may not be able to fulfill all requests due to limited availability, please submit all requests by noon CT on Wednesday.  For more information on HAF priority rank, call the HAF office at 270-745-5321.

WKU Athletics is allocating 50 tickets towards students who want to see the Lady Toppers in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. All students interested in tickets will need to order these tickets on Tuesday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. CT at the WKU Ticket Office. If more than 50 students request tickets from this allotment, those students that are members of the Red Wave will be allocated first. Those that have received tickets will be notified by email Wednesday morning by the WKU Ticket Office. Upon notification, students will be required to bring their WKU student identification card to the WKU Will Call gate at the site of the game to pick up their tickets.

Official release from WKU sports information

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